Friday, August 3, 2018

Abingdon Main Street awarded $12,000 in downtown investment funds for façade improvement



Abingdon Main Street awarded $12,000 in downtown investment funds for façade improvement

Abingdon, VA – Governor Ralph Northam announced today that Abingdon Main Street has been awarded a $12,000 Downtown Investment Grant from Virginia Main Street.  The funds will be matched by an additional $10,000 grant from the Abingdon Economic Development Authority, and used for façade improvements in Abingdon’s historic downtown district.

Businesses located within the Abingdon Main Street footprint can apply for funding to offset the costs of improving and rehabilitating their storefronts. Funds may only be used for exterior improvements.  The selected businesses will also qualify for free design plans from Frazier and Associates Architects.  

“We want downtown Abingdon to be a vibrant area that will attract and sustain small businesses,” said Carrie Baxter, Executive Director of Abingdon Main Street. “History is such an important part of Abingdon’s identity, and these funds will preserve those historic properties and make Abingdon more attractive to visitors and new businesses.”

The Downtown Investment Grants (DIGs), administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), are for design and economic vitality projects targeting areas of specific need in historic downtown neighborhoods located in designated Virginia Main Street communities. These grants are available to designated Main Street organizations to accelerate the economic revitalization of their downtown districts by helping implement innovative strategies, plans and programs that create an environment for increased private investment. 

In creating the façade improvement program, Abingdon Main Street worked closely with the Abingdon EDA and the Town of Abingdon.  The downtown investment is part of a larger strategy by Main Street and the Town of Abingdon to attract and retain small businesses.
According to Abingdon Interim Town Manager Tony Sullivan, "this grant enables us to make our downtown more attractive, which we hope will lead to future investment and development in our downtown economy." 

The Abingdon Economic Development Authority (EDA) has been a long-time partner of Abingdon Main Street. "We were excited about how the initial Facade Improvement Grant worked last year,” said Kenneth Shuman, a member of the Abingdon EDA. “We are looking forward to the expansion of this project to attract more businesses and revenue in downtown."

AMS Director Carrie Baxter expects to open applications for façade improvements within the next two months, and will notify qualified downtown merchants by letter. 

Virginia Main Street is the granting organization for the Downtown Investment Grant program. In 1985, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development adopted the Main Street program for Virginia to help prevent downtown districts across the Commonwealth from economic decline. This unique program works to re-energize economic development of downtown communities while utilizing their cultural assets and character.  More information can be found at http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/index.php/business-va-assistance/virginia-main-street-vms.html

Abingdon Main Street, a 501c3 implementing the Main Street Approach, boosts downtown as the heart of a thriving community, by supporting local independent businesses, promoting downtown through events, connecting partners with resources, and leveraging history, culture, arts and outdoor recreation to grow the economy of the town. Learn more at http://abingdonmainstreet.com/

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